Germany announced this week that it will abandon nuclear energy in ten years. Fukushima and the electoral rise of the Greens have made the first European power to change plans dramatically.

Angela Merkel, a physicist by profession, announced a 180 degree turn on energy policy six months after approving the extension of the life of the 17 German plants until 2032. The seven older reactors, halted since the accident in Fukushima by citizen pressure, will not be restarted. Another seven will stop gradually by 2021 and the last three, the newest, will be closed in 2022.

Germany wants to replace the nuclear power generation with more renewables, more gas stations and more use of coal. The nuclear energy now accounts for 22 percent of German electricity . The Wind weighs in at more than 27,000 megawatts by 20,000 nuclear-and Berlin promises to invest heavily in renewable energy. A giant wind farm will be installed on the north coast and the companies involved are assured a sale price of electricity to make profitable investments.

To complete the abandonment of nuclear energy boost gas imports from Russia by the new pipeline ‘Northstream’, to be inaugurated later this year and that conflicts with neighboring Poland, which is how gas will enable Russia to send directly to Germany without passing through Polish territory. Gas currently produces 14 percent of German electricity.

All these plans will not come free. Dismantle the nuclear reactors will cost at least 14,200 million euros. And investments to increase wind power and coal plants to modernize the bill could lead to the 39,000 million euros in 2025. German companies estimate that with the increase of the electricity they will lose 22,000 million euros. Not to mention the increased energy dependence on Russia-European headache in recent years by increased imports of gas.

The nuclear lobby suffered a major setback with this decision. Nuclear Forum, which brings to the Spanish and making an intense lobbying campaign in Brussels, believes, told TIME that the German decision “is based on short-term political reasons.” They also believe that the closure has “economic consequences, weakening the German industry, increased emissions and be a burden to the consumer.”

On the opposite side, a spokesman for the German section of Greenpeace said that, although frown the German decision, believe that “could be done much faster and shut down all nuclear reactors in 2015, to import more electricity from neighbors or gases emit more pollutants, only faster and faster by investing in renewable energy and implementing energy conservation policies. ”

In other countries the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power has led to important announcements: Switzerland announced that it will build more nuclear plants and will be closing existing ones. Italy held a referendum on 12 and 13 June to reintroduce nuclear energy, which withdrew after the Chernobyl accident in 1986 – and all the polls suggest a landslide victory no.

France remains the queen of the atom. His prime minister, François Fillon, said that “while respecting the German decision,” nuclear power “will remain a solution for the future.”

Leave a Reply